Art Experience Research Assignment

The Piece:

First Reaction to Work:

What first struck me about this piece in Bend, Oregon’s Paul Scott Gallery was how chaotic and busy it was but at the same time there was a pattern to it. As you can see, the bottom third is characterized by the grid pattern of the buildings and the top two thirds is characterized by a diagonal pattern, which itself is composed of a collage of other patterns adding to its confusing and disjointed appearance. This busyness is what made it stand out for me. It is colorful but dark and muddied which suggests gloom.

Then I realized the diagonal pattern was probably smoke. Imagine war, maybe the city was under attack or maybe rather than war, it was experiencing a natural disaster. Since the buildings in the painting don’t appear to be large, Imagined a city in an underdeveloped country rather than an American or European metropolis. The architecture of the buildings suggested otherwise to me. The buildings seem to be Romanesque Revival, this is clearest in the largest building which is in the lower right, this style of architecture was extremely common in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and many older portions of downtowns in the western U.S. are composed of buildings in this style (as my town’s is). Based on these buildings, I see a symbol of America, and it appears to be burning.

I notice the title of the painting is “Pollution Makes Pretty Sunsets”. I still see the painting as an American city in under attack, but from the threat of literally pollution and environmental degradation caused by humans instead of war. It seems to be a message in favor of better care of the environment and greater accountability for how we treat our world. It gives a sense of urgency and despair in the way the city is portrayed as burning. It shows a future resulting from continued disregard for the environment. It is also a benign comment on how pollution can make pretty sunsets. I know this right now as there is a large forest fire outside my town and the sunsets are indeed prettier with the smoke in the air.

Response after Reading Artist Information:

The description of the artist, Josh George, speaks of his “attraction” to urban landscapes, which according to him “holds a different kind of beauty, the decaying masonry work of time tested dwelling and the dismal skies that surround them. Quilt like patterns are revealed when you view through these arrangements.” The other paintings of his in the gallery are titled “Significant Levels of Carbon Dioxide” and “Boxed in Air Cattle” both of which speak to issues related to climate change and overcrowding respectively.
I see the piece in pretty much the same way I saw it as before as the title of the piece was essentially of paraphrase of his description of the beauty found in urban landscapes, so the new information wasn’t really new. The main change to the way I see this piece is that I see that I now see it a little more as a beautiful scene and less as a message about climate change, though this is still very much a strong theme I believe as evidenced from the titles of his other paintings in the gallery.

“Josh George.” Paul Scott Gallery. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Aug. 2012. .

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Censorship Discussion Post

Scott Dread’s piece, “What is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag?”:

I thought the censored art exhibitions in John Frohnmayer’s “Out of Tune: Listening to the First Amendment” sounded extremely interesting, and I would love to attend one someday. Most thought provoking of the Anchorage Arts Center’s pieces seemed to be, according to the author, Dread Scott’s Flag. America seems to have ingrained within it a strong culture of patriotism and a notion of the sacredness of national symbols such as our flag. Dread Scott’s piece is brilliant in the way it severly challenges this notion and causes us to think about how we view our national symbols, or to what extent symbols should be regarded as analogues for what they represent (i.e., is non-maliciously stepping on a flag really as much of a sign of disrespect for what it stands for as the veterans who stole the flags say it is?).

Personally, although I would be hesitant to step on the flag, I think I would do it. I know I don’t harbor a hatred of the United States. I think the flag should be respected for its symbolism, I don’t think it is specially sacred. In these circumstances (the art piece) I think especially stepping on the flag should not be seen as sacrilegious. If someone was stomping on the flag or burning it specifically out of hatred for it, whether it is the US’s or any other country’s or organization’s, then I would support the Veterans who stole the flag from the art exhibition in their efforts. Thus, intent in handling a flag is important. If someone has hatred in mind when stepping on a flag then I may see that as morally wrong.

I say “may” because honestly I’m not sure if I care what people do to our flag, it is a flag after all. Although it is an action against our country, is it just a symbolic action being the flag itself is a symbol? Now this isn’t to say that I’m ok with people burning effigies of people, representations of landmarks, and flags left and right. Instead, what I mean is that I don’t believe people should be prosecuted for flag burning, I think it qualifies as freedom of speech (unless, of course, the flag in question is someone else’s property).

While I think that flag burning is a crude form of expression in that it simply shows your dislike or hate of something rather than providing constructive criticism, nonetheless I think our first amendment rights protect the practice. It maybe should be disapproved of, but protected free speech.

Currently, flag burning is in fact a legally protected freedom. This was established in 1989 in the Supreme Court Case Texas vs. Johnson. Many attempts in congress have been made to made flag desecration illegal, but none have passed. (Head)

Works Cited:

Frohnmayer, J. (1995). Censorship and its progeny. In Out of Tune: Listening to the First Amendment (pp. 34-52). Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing.

Head, Tom. “Flag Burning Laws – History of U.S. Laws Against Flag Burning.” Civil Liberties. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Aug. 2012. .

Scott, Dread. “What Is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag?” Dread Scott, n.d. Web. 15 Aug. 2012. .

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Remix Collage

Clockwise, starting top: Intent, Feeling, Theme, Message. Background: Emotion

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Creative Spirituality Reflection

I would define spirituality as a deep, emotional connection, or religious like feeling to something, something very moving, whether it be a deity or a work of art. It is something very personal and speaks to your beliefs or world view. It is intangible and is related to the idea of a soul and has to do with passion. You could say that you have spiritual feelings towards a god or goddess, nature, even political beliefs.

Religion is closely related to spirituality in that spirituality is a requirement for religion; usually you don’t merely think that Ra, God, Thor, Zoroaster, Yahweh, or Allah exists, you believe it deeply and it forms a part of your spirituality. Whereas spirituality describes certain types of feelings towards something, religions are more precise and are defined as a set of beliefs: a belief system. This includes our traditional notions of religion: Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Wicca, Islam, etc. This does not include all sets of beliefs however, only certain types like the above examples. For example: notions of hygiene such as showering, washing my hands, teeth brushing, nail cutting, etc. may constitute a set of beliefs but it is in no way a religion.

I would define creativity as doing something in a new or original way. It is departure from what has been done before or is doing something in a different way: something novel or innovative. “Creative” can be used as an adjective, describing a method of doing something such as a sculpting technique or a scientific experiment, but can also refer to the thing itself as a product of creativity, like a painting for bicycle. Like art, something creative must be a creation –the root word for which is a part of creative. Thus, something natural cannot be creative, it has to involve be a product of humans.

Ultimately, creativity comes from our own brains, as the center of thought it’s where creativity stems. Inspiration for creativity, on the other hand, can come from anywhere. Inspiration is what can cause us to be creative, exposure to something new changes our beliefs and thoughts which can allow us to see things differently and thus be creative. It could be anything, it doesn’t have to be man-made. A new animal, a lemon, a mountain, someone’s speech, a book, a house, art, they’re equally all things that can serve as an inspiration for creative thought.

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Remix Culture Discussion Post

The Danger Mouse album The Grey Album poses an interesting question. I think that intellectual property is very important for protecting an individuals creations (and sometimes meaning their livelihoods) and that using, without permission, these copyrighted sources is wrong and is a form of stealing. However, what Danger Mouse did was a “remix”, rather than a straight rip-off. I wonder if that requires both a different definition and treatment than copyright violations that are straight rip-offs from other artists? Where do we draw the line between this and merely an adaptation or the borrowing of a small idea, so small it is nearly imperceptible as an idea borrowed from another source? When is something so differently adapted that it becomes the intellectual property of the “remix” artist? Where is the difference between inspiration and borrowing?

I think these are all extremely difficult questions to answer on a general rather than individual basis and it would be impossible to design copyright law in a way to adapt to a remix culture, cases would have to be dealt with on an individual basis. This raises the question of whether or not we think the law should be changed at all. An important underlying issue here is where do we draw the line between an individuals creation and something larger, cultural memes. When does something belong to a culture rather than an individual? Is human culture something that should be capitalized and regulated as it is in this case of Danger Mouse? I think that if Danger Mouse is looking to profit from the album, if it was sold, than we maybe should see it as a case of copyright violation, but if remixing is done for non-commercial ventures, then it should be allowed (and maybe even encouraged).

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Technology Discussion Post

At first, when Jane McGonical said we could “solve the world’s most urgent problems” with gaming I was quite dubious. I was pretty dubious the next 15 times she said this and by the near end of the video I was thinking “what a waste” and “how on Earth does she think that video game skills and spending more time on video games can translate into global change?” and then she admitted that the “mass excodus to the online and gaming worlds was a bad thing” which left me confused as it seemed a contradiction to everything she had stated throughout the video. The example with the Lidians also left me pretty confused and I still didn’t see any hope of global change through video games

But then, at exactly 16:12, she introduced World Without Oil, she then showed the screen shot and my mind was absolutely blown. I had not had such a shock of realization in a long time. I thought “By god, that’s genius! That would actually work!” I was able to imagine myself playing the game and changing my habits as she suggests. In the back of my mind I was thinking earlier throughout video “well without the same rewards we get in video games then I don’t see how video games skills/strategies translate to the real world” but my mind didn’t go farther than that, it stopped at the conclusion that these rewards were stuck in the game world and nothing could be done. But then at the end with World Without Oil and the other games, she had brought the two worlds together. I am immensly optimistic about the potential of what she’s done and I intend to begin playing the game and sharing it with others. She’s right, the reward and escape we get from games when translated into the real world has the ability to cause great change.

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Spirituality Discussion Post

I found Grey’s descriptions of moving experiences with art very interesting, and I was quite impressed with and jealous of the connection he found to art pieces, such as the “chanting” he reported hearing after viewing “The Last Judgement” and a Van Gogh self-portrait. I also found the DMT experience interesting: they way it helped to bring to the canvas everything he had been considering for the painting in the previous half-year.

But, near half way through the reading I remembered that this excerpt was for the “Spirituality” unit. This left me perplexed because, in my view nothing so far had been about spirituality. This caused a massive shift in my definition of the term. Previously I had only thought of spirituality as something related to religious beliefs like belief in a God/Goddesses, or Messiahs, or any sort of belief in a higher power and the emotion connection to that higher power/force. What I was seeing in this reading did have something in common with that definition however and that was the emotion connection. The author related on his deep personal emotion connections but here they were to themes and art and objects as opposed to solely in a higher power. This opened my eyes to the way that objects and art can be just as moving and stirring as the way a religious person might find their deity deep and moving. I found this artistic spirituality particularly special because it was an active connection, it lead to creation, to the pouring of the artist into his or her piece.

Although I am not opposed to the author’s use of DMT to deepen his experience and help pan-out his art, it did raise some questions for me. I wonder how we as a society should define the use of drugs for creative and artistic gain. How, for example, is the use of drugs for artistic reasons similar to and different from the use of drugs (steroids) for athletic purposes? In both cases, one is augmenting their natural abilities for gain, but is DMT in this case a “preformance enhancing drug”? Even so, in art’s case, is it a bad thing? I would say that certainly for athletic reasons it is wrong because usually this is for gain in competition -against others and potentially for monetary profit. Art, on the other hand, is very public and is a benefit to society on many levels, and a gain for the artist can translate into gain for the audience who views and has a connection to the piece.

However, is this always the case, drug experiences are highly personal and unique to the individual? It may be more difficult for an audience to have a connection with a piece created with the aid of drugs because the audience does not have experience with the drug. While all art is rooted in unique personal experiences that not everyone has experience with, do drug experiences further restrict the audience? For example, it is difficult to grasp some of the deeper meaning of Grey’s “Transcendence” without the background information his gives in the chapter or experience with the drug. I do not have a particular stance one way or the other, it is just something to think about in the creation of art in terms of “translation” as Grey worded the final step in art. Either way, I think if drugs can deepen an artists connection to a piece and create another layer of meaning for the piece, then that is a good thing.

I think the key difference between drugs in art and drugs in sport lies in how art pieces and athletic performances are judged. All athletes in a particular sport are judged on the same criteria for that sport. For example on the hundred meter dash, your performance is judged on how fast you run the race: sport has a singular goal, there is a winner. Art however is far more open ended and there isn’t really a winner in art. Yes there are masters and there are mediocre artists but art is so open to interpretation that it is impossible to cheat (unless you claim the credit for someone else’s work) because there is no winning. Good art, in my view, opens people’s minds and creates in people deep connections, it stirs something in us. This varies greatly from person to person however and people take away a million different things from the same piece. A piece created with the aid of drugs may actually be less stirring to an individual than one that isn’t despite the heightened creativity or insight of the artist. As creativity or insight aren’t the be-all end-all criteria for art, drugs cannot be used to somehow elevate the status of a piece.

Works Cited:

Grey, A. (2001). Art as Spiritual Practice. The Mission of Art (1st ed., pp. 205-233). Boston & London: Shambhala.

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Food as Art

The article I chose for this essay comes from the Guardian’s food blog “Word of Mouth” and is written by Susan Smillie. According to her official profile page on the Guardian’s website she “ is the editor of the Guardian and Observer’s online food and drink pages, including Word of Mouth,’s food blog” (Profile: Susan Smillie).
The Article starts with a question asked by co-writer at the Guardian Jonathon Jones “If canned [excrement] can be art, why can’t gourmet food be similarity elevated?” (Smillie). The article asks this question in reponse to a row over the invitation of a cook to an annual art show in Germany. Some in the art community “are said to be furious” at the decision, “with one critic calling it a ‘banalisation of art’”. “Jones concludes that food can never be art because chefs are cooking to please the customer,” and this is part of the reasoning I used in my discussion post on food as art, I don’t agree however that food can never be art. Smillie, sides with the culinary world and believes that food should indeed be counted as art because she’s “not convinced that the idea of crowd-pleasing subservience holds true in a world where skilled chefs are elevated to celebrity status with year-long waiting lists at their restaurants” (Smillie). In order to support her argument in different ways, Smillie compares food to other art forms such as theater and painting in that subservience is a necessary part of all art in that “any artistic director, actor, or writer who tells you they don’t care about what theater critics thinks is lying.” (Smillie).

In my first blog post I stated I believed that some food was art but not all for similar reasons presented by these two sides, a lot of food produced is just for utility and nutrition as Jones said. For example, when I put together cheese and a tortilla in my microwave it is merely for hunger relief and [minimal] taste rather than an exercise in or appreciation of art. Thus, food is not entirely “art” or “not art”, it is a technical skill where expertise and creativity can push the craft’s boundaries into something that can and should be regarded as art. In the most basic sense, not all food can be art because some food is not the result of human creativity or work such as raw fruits and vegetables. Art requires intent and unless you count genetic engineering (which isn’t an art anyways), these natural foods have none.
Now, it is true that not all crafts are things that can be pushed into art, but I believe food is certainly one of them for the simple reason food is produced for aesthetic purposes: taste, smell, and look. For example you could be a particle physics genius, but everything you do is for utility, the purposes of the field rather than for aesthetics. This is not to say that food is equal however with other forms of art. No it is crude because it is limited in what it can communicate.

Works Cited:
“Profile: Susan Smillie.” The Guardian, n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2012. .
Smillie, Susan. “Is Food Art?” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 24 May 2007. Web. 06 Aug. 2012. .

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Personal Adornment Reaction

At first when given this prompt, I thought that other than my piercings maybe, I clothes were pretty standard and that they didn’t reflect anything. But, the more I thought on it, the more I realized the extent to which my clothing was a reflection of my values, personality, and how I wished to have those two things perceived by others through my clothing.

The personal beliefs and values that are supported and expressed by my clothing can be divided into two groups, values and beliefs I want to project to others, and values and beliefs that are more internal (though, that isn’t to say that the values and believes I wish to express to others aren’t based on my own internal thoughts, it’ll be made more clear later in this essay).

Much of my clothing for a couple years consisted solely of black and muted or dark colors. I felt like it was “bad-ass” and for myself and for a desired projection of my image I liked wearing clothes that had a “dark” or “troubled” personality vibe to them part of this was because I was always kind of a loner and part of this was because I really liked the Goth subculture as my mom and her brother were both parts of that subculture when they were my age. In addition to Goth, the Punk subculture also played a role as I had always tried to distance myself from mainstream youth culture. Part of the reasoning however, also probably had to do with the fact that I was chronically depressed for the majority of my life.

Around this last Christmas break however, I was fed up feeling sad all the time and I was desperate for relief so I did what I could short of medication. The first thing that came to my mind was adding brighter colors to my life. I bought a bright blue cell phone case and did something unheard of and fairly experimental for me, I decided to cease buying anymore clothing that was black or had a bleak look to it. They say that they way you dress and your actions can influence thought, sort of like how a uniform or business suit may make one feel more professional, so I tried doing the same with my own casual, everyday, clothing. I started buying the opposite of what I had always worn, which meant bright, sometimes neon, bold colors –which was also sort of in the fashion with the ‘80s revival clothing has seen in recent years.

And you know? I think it did work. At first it felt very strange and I was very aware of the reasons behind what I was doing which made it slightly unsettling, having to confront the issue. After a while though, I got used to it and I can’t imagine ever going back to black now. I think I do feel better wearing brighter colors. At minimum, I don’t feel as cast out anymore as I was draped in grey and black.

Lately my clothing purchases and choices have been limited to tank tops and swim suits, mostly because of the summer heat. One thing that’s interesting about this is the change in self image shown by my current predilection to tank tops. This time a year ago, I would have never worn a tank top. My self-mage was so poor that I thought I would spare people the sight of my in a tank top, nor did I want to be seen in one for myself. This is despite the fact that I’ve actually gained weight since last year -that is the improvement I have made! I’ve overcome myself image problems finally recognize now I’m certainly not fat in any way, shape, or form. Though back when I was in elementary school, I was quite overweight for my age, and this way of thinking about myself it seems had carried on even when the weight had not.

My family values are represented in my appearance by the 80’s Goth culture from my mom and uncle as mentioned by my formerly monochrome wardrobe and from 90’s culture from my mom when I was growing up, this is more specifically in relation to my black ear piercing that comes down with two prongs on each side of the earlobe like a horseshoe and has a spike on the end of each prong. I felt this piercing was fairly 90’s as it’s based on the same piercings my mom had from that time. Nostalgia, of course wasn’t the only reason I got it. It also catered to my liking of Goth and Punk; I mean although my clothing color choice had changed, I wasn’t necessarily an entirely new person. My mom always was a kind of “out-there” person and my clothing is also a reflection of my upbringing in an environment with a culture that subscribe with the norm. However, I am feeling the pressure of trying to fit in this, my first year of college, so that is changing to an extent and sometimes I make clothing choices the purposely reflect the norm for people my age.

My peer community is rather mixed at the moment. In high school, I went to an International Baccalaureate school that was separate from the main high school in my town; I had extremely limited interactions with students who typified the norm for our age group for four years due to the fact that I never had classes on the main campus. As a result, my graduating class was only 25 people. We were weird and we were nerdy. For example, we started a “Keep Our Campus Weird” group inspired by Portland’s “Keep Portland Weird.” Some of the events we had on our little campus included “Dress like a Communist Day” and “Bring your Luggage to School/Dress like a Tourist Day.” Compared to the other campus, we were our own mini Portland or San Francisco in the middle of rural Oregon. Other than these “event days” my clothing and that of my friends sometimes tended to stray on the avant-garde or experimental realm, though towards senior year we did level out a bit.

My experiences to the dorms have been a far cry from mu experiences in high school and adjusting at first was difficult. I will admit that I and the other people in my graduating class cultivated a holier-than-thou culture and looked down upon the “normal students”. Suddenly, that group was gone and the people who previously we had shunned were now my peer group. I was caught between a group that had once venerated strange clothing a new group that saw it as crazy and now I didn’t know what to think and which way I should dress. So far I’ve been center right in my clothing choices in that they’ve been a little more in line with the main stream but I do try not to be a carbon-copy. Some more Punky values shine through like my lip piercing which I had wanted for years but was too afraid about how it would look or what people would think to get it. In order to fit in more though, I’ve begun to flirt with the idea of becoming a little more carbon-copy in recent months. I know I shouldn’t change myself to please others but having a class of 25 students total lead to having very few close friends and an extremely small peer group. I’m itching to experience everything I missed out on in high school, the typical American teenager experience, before I’m no longer one myself.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Scene Analysis

1. Non-diagetic sound:
Beginning at 15:19 (and going until 16:00, where Buffy opens the hall door), this scene is where Buffy first discovers she can no longer talk. The scene starts off silent and then after she begins to try to talk, some very quiet and creepy non-diagetic orchestral music plays. The silence and the quiet background music help to build suspense and heightens the lack of noise which is central to the episode’s plot, and it also serves to focus the audience’s attention to the revelation of the scene and the actors. The background music adds some creepiness and suspense to the scene while still retaining the horror value of the silence by being very quiet. I chose this scene because it is both the audiences’ and the character’s first full realization of what has happened.

2. Diagetic sound:
In the scene beginning at 16:58 where the two male characters enter the secret elevator/entrance, a “vocal code” must be entered to gain access and stop the release of a poisonous gas. The specific sound I’m using in this scene is when in lieu of a voice the Caucasian male character is forced to only wheeze into the microphone for the vocal code. I choose this scene because I thought that the wheeze was horrifying in that is emphasized their inability to speak and that the mere idea of only being able to wheeze or rasp when you try to talk is terrifying as many people know in the dreams people have where no matter how hard they try they can’t talk or scream, usually occurring at a time of terror in the dream where one is being attacked and trying to call out for help, etc.

3. Mise-en-scene:
In this scene beginning at 18:24, Buffy and the Caucasian woman with the red hair are shown walking down the middle of a street in the town, surveying the town in the wake of the loss of voice throughout the town’s people.

-Production Design: sets, props and costumes
The costumes are normal everyday-wear and aren’t any different than the rest of the episode. The entire set itself consists of a short section of road running through the town with buildings on each side. This normal set serves as a backdrop to the abnormal occurrences as a result of the disaster, showing how everyday life has been interrupted. Props represent the damage done to the town. “Closed” signs on buildings and conversely obviously made in wake of the disaster “YES WE’RE OPEN” appear reflecting the way in which business has been affected.

-Colour (present in both production design and lighting)
As a normal street, there is a variety of color but it seems relatively muted and bleak.

It looks to be midday, but with an overcast sky darkening the scene and casting a grey bleakness over everything, giving the scene a drab, downtrodden look.

-Actors’ performance (including casting and make up) and movement (blocking)
The main characters are frowning as they slowing walk down the street looking upon what has become of the town. Other people are shown shuffling their feet slowly while staring at the ground, standing still and solemnly staring ahead, running, rushing into a store, running, in a pseudo-fetal position on the ground, and others are gathered in a group reading from the Bible. All of these show the gloom, panic, and confusion that has descended on the town.

-Framing including position; depth of field; aspect ratio; height and angle (but not movement)
The depth of field is fairly shallow, and the camera is fairly close to the main characters or the surrounding action when not pointed at the main characters (as though from the point of view of the main characters). The aspect ratio is standard and not any different from the rest of the episode. The views shown from the characters allow us to get inside their point of view and experience the dismay in the town first hand, as they are.

-Diegetic sound (that is, sound that emanates from the scene and is not extraneous to it, such as the music that is not being played within the scene or a voice-over)
There is very little diegetic sound in this scene. The only examples in the scene are a dog barking, a muffled sound from the collision of two people who bump into each other, a car honking, running footsteps, and a police (or ambulance) siren. It is quiet for the most part and realistically represents the character’s surroundings. The dog barking, the car horn, and the siren are all off screen and are displeasing sounds for the most part which add to the general dim mood of the scene.

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